Collectors can again 'make-off with Henry VI's head', next month



2015-06-26 12:16:14

Collectors can again 'make-off with Henry VI's head', next month

A Paris auction is offering this very rare coin of a King whose head went missing for centuries...

Billed as being of "superb" quality, this silver franc will be among the highlights in Beaussant Lefvre's upcoming Paris numismatic auction on March 16.

Dated to 1607, this rare, reeded-edge Parisian coin bears the likeness of Henry VI, King of France between 1589-1610 - and it isn't the first time the King's 'head' has emerged on the private markets.

While Henry VI's head is still clearly defined on this coin, the King's actual head has proved more elusive. It waslost after revolutionaries ransacked his grave at theBasilica of St Denis in 1793.

An embalmed head, reputed to be that of Henry IV, was passed among private collectors until French journalist Stephane Gabet tracked it down in 2010.

 Hopefully this head won't go missing before the March 16 auction...

Eventually, the King's head was found in the attic of a retired tax collector, Jacques Bellanger. He'dbought it from awidow in 1955, who herself had acquired the head at auction in the early-1900s.

Later that year, a forensic team confirmed that the head was indeed Henry VI's. It is excellently preserved, and is set to be returned to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis this year.

However,a forensic team isn't needed to predict the value of this silver coin when itsells in March. Weighing 27.90g, the coin will appear in Paris with an 6,000-8,000 estimate.

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